February 18, 2013 Subject:
Not as ramshackle as I had hoped
I was really excited when I realized I'd be getting a look at life behind the scenes of a DuMont TV show, since they all seemed to be done live in front of sets made of cardboard. The reality, while still fascinating, wasn't quite as awesome as I had hoped.
Television in the 1950s, this episode shows us, was done in an environment that seems to have been a cross between NASA mission control and a steel mill. Busy men are shown poring over banks of tiny video monitors while the cameraman pushes around a camera that seems to have been made largely from cast iron. In a corner of the studio, another man operates turntables for background music, and we finally get to see where that little end-of-the-show card that says "DuMont" on it fits into the production.
I think the real let down is that we were seeing the back end of "The John Hopkins Science Review" itself (specifically the episode about the glassblower, which can be downloaded elsewhere on this site). What I wouldn't have given to see them make "Captain Video"!